Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




English (MA)

First Advisor/Chairperson

Lesley Larkin


The purpose of this thesis is to examine the formulation of posthuman subjectivity in contemporary science fiction through stories that collapse the distinction between humans and machines. I draw upon contemporary research on the sociological implications of such technologies as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and brain-computer interfaces (BCI), to analyze the ways in which literature that depicts these technologies disrupt the humanist subject. I also consider the ways in which the disruption of the human subject serves to write against imperialist and techno-Orientalist discourses in science fiction and the study thereof. Chapter One compares the representations of technology and magic in the stories of Ken Liu’s The Paper Menagerie, particularly the way technology magnifies humanity through the effects of algorithmic bias. Throughout the collection, Liu’s stories communicate with one another through “questions” and “answers” about humanism. Chapter Two focuses on how representations of virtual reality and BCI in Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem both extend, and reveal the ultimate shortcomings of, human subjectivity.

Access Type

NMU Users Only